There is a lot of heated debate over the use of genetically modified organisms or GMOs, especially when it comes to food. I have not quite understood some of the opposition to it. There seems to be nothing intrinsically dangerous about food that has been genetically engineered in the laboratory to be different, since nature and agricultural practices have been genetically modifying organisms over a long time. I would have little worry about eating a genetically modified food, for example, although I must admit that I have not studied the topic in great detail.
There are of course dangers that one must be alert to, such as accidentally producing organisms that are dangerous or allowing big transnational corporations to gain monopolistic control of the patents of basic foodstuffs or ending up with just a single type of plant and thus losing the genetic diversity in foods that enable plants to survive the appearance of a deadly blight. But these are issues that can and should be addressed without necessarily depriving ourselves of the benefits that genetic engineering can provide, such as creating crops that do not require pesticides or can grow in more hostile environments or have important nutrients that people need but otherwise may not get, such as so-called ‘golden rice’ that contains beta-carotene or vitamin A, the lack of which reportedly kills hundreds of thousands of children each year.
Aasif Mandvi of the The Daily Show tries to get at the truth of the matter.
(This clip aired on April 22, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)